A New Year Away From Home

Along with all the Firsts I’d had for the past few months, this year is also the first year I spent Chinese New Year away from home and my family.

The past weekend was a pretty busy one because I had two seminars to prepare for the next week but I’d somehow managed to hype myself up enough for CNY celebrations with my friends so I didn’t have the capacity to think about anything else, like the fact that I wasn’t at home to celebrate CNY with my parents, for instance.

On Saturday night, about 30 of us Malaysians had a reunion dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown complete with 11 meal courses and full-on karaoke-ing throughout the whole night. We also had the entire floor to ourselves and our waitress was so friendly and sporting that we (and by we it was mostly a firsthand effort by Faris himself) even got her to karaoke a few songs for us. The food was really good too, exceptionally so after months of depriving myself of luxurious food for the sake of the £££. I wasn’t as sociable as I would’ve liked to be that night (then again, when have I ever lived up to my expectations of extroversion) but the night ended on a high note (literally, we were asked to stop singing because the restaurant was closing) and despite my internal grief of being away from home during the biggest festive season of the year, it was a pretty good reunion dinner to compensate for my absence from home.

And then after, a few of us came to Weston and we stayed up till 4AM playing games in my hall’s common room.

Sa Chap Meh (30th night) (and day as well) was spent lazing around my room the whole day watching anime despite my impending assignments glaring at me from a side the entire time because I was adamant about my excuse of “It’s Chinese New Year! Live a little!” even though the only living I was doing was staring at my laptop screen for prolonged periods of time. And then on the first day of Chinese New Year, I celebrated by going to classes and finally relenting into starting on my assignments.

Some of my friends came over the next day for a steamboat dinner though, so that was also very nice.

Last year’s CNY was filled with exclamations from my relatives that “It’s your last CNY in Malaysia, Michelle!” and my stomach fell with each repetition that it was a wonder my gut was still intact by the end of the day. But I never did, never could experience nor understand the full implication of that realisation until I actually came here and was forced to contend with that reified fact, with the absence of CNY songs blasting from any and all available speakers indoors and outdoors, with the missing feeling of waking up all excited as I greeted my parents before changing into new clothes to visit my relatives, with the lack of angpaos from family members and endless good food from morning until night that there was no point trying to discern which meals were for breakfast, lunch or dinner because you could just carry on eating the entire time, with being unable to catch up with my cousins and gamble into the night accompanied by peals of laughter everytime someone (usually my dad) loses; even the awkwardness of having to make small talk and listen to my aunties and uncles talk over one another (like the Teohs do best) — I miss all of it. And this year, the only homely CNY experience I could get was through the pixels of photos sent in the family Whatsapp group and of an hour-long Skype session when my parents were over at Si Pek’s house on Cheh Sa.

But in spite of all of that, I count myself fortunate for the things I do have, and that is the friends I’ve made here and being able to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. My immense gratitude, to be able to feel warm during the coldest Chinese New Year I’ve ever experienced, both inside and out.


Nothing Is Magical Anymore

Mommy dearest, father dearest, yours truly and 93-year-old grandpa dearest.

The title really gives you insight into how my Chinese New Year went by, doesn’t it?

To make a comparison, Chinese New Year for Michelle the young child was always the ultimate climax of the year, and I was never disappointed. I was always so happy to be around my family, especially my cousins. I got to wear pretty new clothes and receive many angpaus. Even the atmosphere was obviously different. There used to be a special buzz in the air on the first day of Chinese New Year, and if I was lucky enough, on the second, third and fourth day too. I wish I could remember enough to put my long-gone ecstasy into words but times have changed drastically and it was as if I’ve shed the wings of magickery as I walked the Trails of Growing Up. That’s the worst pain of growing up: you start to see things and people as they really are, and your heart aches when you realise that some things and people were never as great and wonderful as you’d always thought them out to be. The Warlock of Age starts to wave the banner bearing the words “Congratulations! You are now able to see the rotten side of creation!” in your face.

Here, I even made a graph to make things clearer for you:

To be fair, this year’s Chinese New Year wasn’t bad. It certainly wasn’t the merriest, but it wasn’t bad. I’d learned to accept the fact that things won’t be as bubbly and magical as they were seven years ago. I had fun. The highlight of the week was definitely Soo Pei and Soo May’s temporary return from England and KL respectively. Besides, the fact that I had a break from school for a week was already a sunny upside.

Speaking of school…ah, school. What else can I say? Only in Sultanah Asma School, you have waktu wajib for an hour after school ends, break for less than half an hour, and then it’s back to kepong classes for one and a half hour (or two hours and fifteen minutes for Physics), which means that school ends at 5PM everyday for all of us Form Fives. Back at home, I barely have time to sit down before I’m shipped away to tuition classes again. Considering the amount of time (or lack thereof) we have each day, you’d think that at least we wouldn’t have much homework to bring back home and if you’re thinking that then HAHA! WRONG GUESS!

Some days, I just want to sing Pressure by Paramore at the top of my lungs and forget everything else.

Buying It All Up In Outerspace

Now Playing- Black Sheep by Metric

Hello again, friend of a friend, I knew you when
Our common goal was waiting for the world to end

I’m sorry for being away for so long. It might not be too long for you but it certainly was for me. I’ve missed blogging about this year’s Chinese New Year because I’ve been busy before, during and after CNY, so I thought I’d just cram a summary about my CNY in this post, since this is basically an update-on-my-life post.

This year’s Chinese New Year was more uneventful and I guess you can say problematic because of all sorts of issues. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have a particularly great time, because I did, so you can say I did and didn’t have a great time this CNY. I’ll let you figure that out by yourself.

School is…well, let’s just say if I had only half a year to study for PMR, I could go to tuitions and take up all kinds of other lessons and I still wouldn’t be as busy as I am now. I’ve said this and I’ll say it again, whoever said Form 4 is a honeymoon year is clearly delusional. I’ve learned the effects Add Math can have on you and almost every day, I’d come home from school nearly incoherent and have aches everywhere, even, and especially, my head. Imagine! Sweating and aching in your joints not from any form of physical exercise, but from a math-athon.

Did I also mention how Jewnicorn love is taking over my life? Because they are, and no amount of well-thought out words and precisely formed phrases can ever describe my obsession with the perfect creatures they are.

On the other hand, Careful Confessions hit the 20,000 views mark! 20k views in a time span of two years, this makes me feel pretty accomplished somehow. And now, perhaps some kind of makeover to celebrate this milestone or something. (Which is honestly quite a pain in the arse because there aren’t any decent themes at the moment but I’m starting to get bored of this theme so I’m pretty much just hoping for a new theme release everytime I log in.)

CNY- First Day

Woke up at 9 AM today. So friggin tired because I stayed up till 3 AM last night watching 2012. Yes, I know I’m darn slow, but in order to get the DVD with the best quality, the wait was worthwile.

So our destination was undeniably Ah Kong’s house, the rendezvous for all Teoh family members for almost every occasion every year. We were the earliest to arrive, so I spent the time helping to set up tables and stuff. The next to arrive was Si Pek and his family. It was a little different this year, since all of his daughters came home from UK this year; Soo Ling, Soo May and Soo Pei. Both Soo Pei and Soo Ling changed a lot since I last saw them, so we had a brief photography frenzy outside the house since Ah Kong had a brand new garden thanks to Sah Pek.

Relatives started to mull in endlessly after that, and I got my share of angpaus, of course. The Lion came in a little while after that and we took some pictures. The neighbours even set off a long line of firecrackers that made my ears pop. Time started to fly quite quickly after that, but maybe it was just me because the main event of the day was, of course gambling.

*I posted that on Tumblr and @Chrissy; it’s definitely safe gambling. Only with my family members. (:

"A little gambling is fun when you're with me." -Lady Gaga, Poker Face

So yeah, dad, Ji Pek, Goh Pek, Xiao Ku, San Ku, Xiong Koko, Yan Koko, Joshua and I were the main ‘culprits’. We gambled like mad that day, and everyone was impressed at my risk-taking during ‘In Between’.

I mean, c’mon. It’s Chinese New Year. Of course I need to do a little Adam Lambert risk taking. Psh.

From day to night, peals of laughter emitted from the air-conned living room. Thank God I won and dad won and no neighbours complained. /shifty

That pretty much summarises everything for the first day, apart from the magnificent food, which I think is pretty self-explanatory in everyone’s cases. I can’t can’t can’t wait for tomorrow and the day after (when we’ll be going to BKH /squeal) so I might not be online much. Ciao, folks.

PS. Boy, I’m impressed with myself for not getting hooked on a laptop/computer all the time at Ah Kong’s house.

Group photo (: